Small Business Needs Protection from Lawsuit Abuse

Date: May 17, 2016 Last Edit: May 18, 2016

Legislators are working to pass a bill that would stop lawsuit abuse involving Minnesota's small businesses.

Small Business Needs Protection from Lawsuit Abuse

A recent string of over 150 lawsuits against small businesses in Minnesota have left owners reeling.

Current Minnesota Public Accommodation laws allow plaintiffs who claim a business is out of conformity with state or federal ADA laws to demand a cash settlement from the owner—without first requesting that the premises be improved to conform with the laws.

However, under current federal ADA law, plaintiffs cannot seek monetary damages. “Unfortunately, our law does allow these types of lawsuits and we have seen a very unfortunate abuse of this law and the legislature needs to act on correcting the situation,” said NFIB/Minnesota State Director Mike Hickey in a statement.

HF2955 would give businesses owners the opportunity to first fix the problem through a system of a demand letter process—protecting business owners from unfair lawsuits and also ensuring properties are updated to accommodate disabilities. If a business fails to correct the problem, they are then liable for a lawsuit.

“The right-to-cure provision in the bill is critical and hopefully the legislature will act on this legislation in a bipartisan manner this session,” Hickey said.

The bill passed the House on May 9, but is bogged down in the Senate where a weaker version of the bill is expected to pass that will not fix the problem for small business.

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